View Full Version : Sheeting in/ Stalling

Roly Gardner
21st April 2009, 10:23 PM
Hi Roger,

Long time no speak! I hope that you are well.

I am after a little guidance please. I am now comfortable in the harness and both straps. I find that I can balance the rig and get planing in quite a controlled way, unlike last year which was pretty much a white knuckle ride every time the board came up out of the water!

My latest issue seems to be as I try to sheet in and increase the power. I have taken your advice and bring the power on gradually with the back hand. This works like a dream in terms of control and taking my time. However, I seem to get to cruising speed and when I try to really gear up, the board seems to stall. I think that I may be sailing too close to the wind in the first place. I am quite conscious of not losing ground down wind and I think that maybe I ought to concentrate on building speed before heading up wind. Is it usual to bear away until you get going and then try to get up wind?

I think that my technique may be forcing this error to occur. Presumably I need to keep the mast relatively upright while sheeting in? My tendency is to rake the rig back at the same time as sheeting in and I suspect this pushes the nose up wind. Do you think that my hands may be wrongly positioned on the boom? I try to make myself move them back but this seems to de stabilise my stance.

Any comments would be very welcome.


23rd April 2009, 03:24 AM
Hi Roly,
Without actually seeing you sail it would be nearly impossible to suggest what might be causing this issue for you.
If you are sailing fully powered up, and you seem to stall, that would support your analysis that you are some how heading too high too soon.
I'm pretty sure we all rake the rig back pretty much at the same time we are sheeting in, but again, without watching you, I cannot tell if you are doing this correctly or somehow getting it out of sequence or something.
I think your comment that you are "quite conscious of not losing ground down wind"
may be the real issue.
If you stay on a beam reach a little longer and really let the speed build up, you can carry that speed as you head upwind, giving you better overall speed and angle, but you also must "sense" when you've gotten too high and be able to back off a few degrees to continue to carry the better overall speed and angle.
Sail designs, board and fin designs and sailor technque and skills all are factors here.
Hope this helps,

23rd April 2009, 06:27 PM
Hi Roger,

I have a sort of similar issue sometimes. My local lake usually offers very gusty conditions, and what happens is when I get on plane, get the speed and rake the rig back, the wind sometimes gets weaker and the rig supports me less and less and I loose speed unless I bear off a lot.

I found out that I can get more power from the rig if I "un-rake" it from the speed position and somehow sheet off, but I am not sure how this should be done. Should I move it more upright and upwind or downwind and should I sheet off a little? I also found out that when I'm loosing power I stand on my toes to keep planing (I guess I'm doing everything to keep the upwind edge of the board in the air).

So my general question is what should I do if I'm in a full-speed, locked-in mode, with rig raked back and fully sheeted in and I feel that the gust is off and wind weakens.
I'd like to stay on plane as long as possible and not loose too much ground.


24th April 2009, 03:12 AM
Hi Marek,
If you are sailing in "variable" winds, you need to try to anticipate what's coming your way and understand that as the wind speed drops, the apparent wind you are sailing with will both decrease and change angle slightly.
With less apparent wind, you cannot stay as high or your sail will stall.
So, I think in my expereince you need to be "reading" the water ahead and upwind of you and then anticipate based on what you see.
If you see a lull, you need to unrake the rig a little, and as the board heads off a bit (it will do this naturally as you stand the rig up more) ease off your sheeting angle a bit.
When the wind comes back, you can rake the rig back again, and head up by pressuring the fin and rolling your board very slightly lee rail down to get the best upwind from your fin.
It's very hard to explain, and you need to really learn to read the water ahead and upwind, but on any given day you will soon be able to make the right corrections to stay
What you don't want to do is suddenly sheet out, or fully unrake the rig so you head way off downwind. That will kill the apparent wind even more than slightly "easing" your rake angle, sheeting angle, and course heading relative to the true wind.
If you can read subtle changes in the windspeed, (by the surface conditions on the water and what you are feeling in the rig) you can make the subtle changes you need to keep planing.
Hope this helps,

Roly Gardner
24th April 2009, 10:06 PM
Hi Roger, Hi Marek,

Thank you for your responses which were interesting. I wanted to reply as the conditions during which my problems arose were similar to those described by Marek. Whilst I sail on open water the wind on this particular day was general cross/off and consequently quite "dirty". Without a consistent breeze the conditions were marginal at best and I was just trying to make the best of it and get a sail in.

Hence my over eagerness to try to head up wind before the wind died and I came off the plane. I think that this is my main issue and I shall concentrate on taking time to gather speed before heading up wind.

One comment you made to Marek interested me Roger. You talk about "rolling the board" to get best up wind performance from the fin. Is this the same as driving off the fin? I have had some success with pushing my back foot across the board sort of against the side of the fin which I am sure you told me to do once up on the plane for best up wind performance. It certainly felt like it worked when I tried it last year.

I have heard that you can slightly tip the board itself so that the rail acts as a kind of dagger board/fin thus aiding progress up wind but cannot remember whether it is the leeward or windward rail when planing. I have a vague recollection of someone telling me that it is the opposite to the side you "depress" if you are not planing.

Thank you as always for your patience.


25th April 2009, 04:28 AM
Hi Roly,
Not to confuse the issues here, but if you stay at or above a beam reach, you really don't lose much ground downwind, and you can definitely "light up" your board on these courses.
As far as "rolling the board" to go upwind better, yes, you roll the lee rail down a bit (very slightly or you'll initiate a jibe) and push hard across the top of the fin with your back foot in the footstrap, while kind of "lifting/pulling" with your front foot in thr front strap.
You want to "torque" the board a bit and keep a slight angle on the fin (cant the fin so the tip is upwind of the base sliightly) to get the best upwind VMG (velocity made good).
If you are "slogging" and you need to head upwind slowly, then you depress or tip the upwind rail lower than the downwind rail and use the bottom shape (the rocker) to help guide your board upwind. By tipping your board, you create a similar "resistance" that you would find railing a snowboard or skis.
Hope this helps,

Roly Gardner
25th April 2009, 11:52 PM
HI Roger,

Much better day today. Out in a more consistent 15/20 mph wind from our usual SW direction which means no obstacles to dirty it up on the way through. I rigged my 6.5 and set off trying to bear in mind what we were discussing and it helped a lot.

You were sot on in terms of the beam reach. I just tacked and gybed at the end of each run and maintained my position on the beach no problem. My issue with the "stalling" was due I think more to my lack of commitment to the harness and not resisting the rig enough when I was sheeting in. I was being lifted upright and naturally sheeted out to stop myself catapulting.

By getting my body further out over the windward rail with a little more confidence the balance was better and my sailing improved hugely. I had to re think my super 7 stance and getting low, fundamentals that I have been ignoring. More controlled power with me guiding the board not the other way around.

I managed a water start close to the shore for the first time, but failed miserably further out. I found that I can get myself in to a reasonable position and use the back of the board to lift the boom out of the water. With my back hand on the mast I can fly the rig. It is at this point that it goes wrong. I try to bear away but the nose tends to luff up. This in turn lets the wind flatten the rig and push me under. I was almost there on several occasions but frustratingly failed to get one right.

Have you a "technique thought" for me to try out next time in terms of getting the board to bear away a bit. Am I trying to move the board but keep the rig in its across the wind position?

Thank you once again.


28th April 2009, 12:11 PM
Hi Roly,
Here's a little "exercise" that helps you to learn to "steer" your board when setting up for beachstarts and waterstarts (the dynamics are quite similar, just the water depth changes).
Walk out into the water until it's deep enough for your fin to clear.
Then practice "steering" your board through 360 deg. (both upwind and downwind) using only the mast foot.
At first you will have to step backward and forward a bit, but as you get more skilled you will find that you can pretty much stand in one place and steer your board through the mast foot to any angle you want.
I do not understand your "with my back hand on the mast I can fly the rig".
Normally I waterstart or beachstart with my front hand on the mast (or better still on the boom in a prerry much normal position).
Getting the rig to fly is normally accomplished with the front hand on the mast, to get the mast up out of the water, then keep the front hand on the mast and the back hand on the boom to control the power and lift in the sail.
Once you have the rig positioned pretty much upwind, you can then use mast foot steering to place your board at about any attitude you need.
Always try to start your waterstarts and beachstarts at a lower (further off the wind) angle than you think you need as it will always round up a bit, and having an extra 10 degrees before things stall can turn a failed attempt into a sucessful one.
Hope this helps,

Roly Gardner
28th April 2009, 09:31 PM
Thank you for your post Roger,

I am sorry, I got my hands mixed up! Yes, it is my front hand that I use to hold the mast. I think that it feels easier for me to control the board with this grip. Am I right in saying that apply downward force via the mast on to the mast foot should turn the board downwind and by pulling the mast this should have the opposite effect? I will certainly try your drill in shallow water to get proficient.

I will also aim further downwind to give myself some lee way as I come out of the water up on to the board. At the point that I try to put my back foot up on the deck between the foot straps, is the rig in the same position as at the start of the process i.e. directly across the wind. This goes back to my earlier post. I think that I may be trying to turn the board away from wind and as a consequence the rig is also swinging around. This seems to force the sail downwards and as a result pushes me under. I then have to start over.



29th April 2009, 08:17 AM
Hi Roly,
Hmmmmmm...yep, trying to push the nose away (or the tail away for that matter) as (or after) you show your sail to the wind is going to have a very negative affect.
I like to put both my hands on the boom in about normal sailing position.
I try to "throw" the rig up when I feel a puff of wind.
If I give the rig some inertia, and really extend my arms, the sail will normally just pull me up onto the board.
I don't put my feet on the board at all, but that only seems to work well for me.
I concentrate on getting the alignments right, and putting max effort into "throwing" the rig up, then follow it onto the board and land both my feet (just about anywhere on the deck of the board, and hopefully not to far bak near the rear unless it's really windy.
Then I sheet out momentarily, get my feet set, then sheet in and go.
Hope this helps,

1st May 2009, 09:49 AM
Hi Roly.
Ive just been through this waterstarting. You perhaps have the issue of the board pointing too upwind when you put your back foot on, as roger suggests, which depowers the sail and drops you back in the water. Sounds to me like you need to experience the opposite problem a bit...that is, pointing the board too downwind, and the rig being ripped from your hands as you come up. The successful waterstart happens somewhere in between these two angles. You'll learn where with practice.
Do as Roger says and practice steering the board using the rig in waist deep water. Then try waterstarting in strong wind and see if you can point the board downwind so far that when you try come up, you get yanked over and the rig ripped from your hands. By doing this you'll get to know the force needed to pull you up, and then you just need to find the point in between where you can control the rig, while you are rising out of the water.

remember eat the mastfoot, and forget about putting your front foot on till you are sailing away. Believe me, when it comes, it comes and your brain does it all for you.

19th May 2009, 06:16 PM
Roly, when you lift the sail from the water the mast will point across the wind. But when you actually try to start, and to put your back foot on the board, then the mast has to point maybe 45 degrees into the wind.

You should have the board on a reach (across the wind) when you lift the back foot onboard. And thus the mast pointing significantly into the wind. But not too much as it then will flip over...